Hi my name is Delaney Walker. Yes, I know I have the same name as an NFL tight end and no you are not the first person to tell me that. If you don’t know who he is well honestly that makes me happy. Anyway his first name isn’t actually Delanie, its Hubert but he goes by Delanie (his middle name) because I guess he doesn’t want to be called Hubert. I get that. Except I used to dread the first day of school or a substitute teacher because no one could ever pronounce my name. In preschool I hated how long it was. I always wanted a short simple name, but not a name a lot of people had. I liked the name Zoe. So I guess I don’t really understand why he would want to be called Delanie, but I guess it’s better than Hubert (sorry if your name is Hubert and you’re reading this). Anyway a lot of people ask me if I’m named after this football player. Since his career started when I was in middle school I am going to have to answer that question with a hard no. I’m not really sure how I got my name. I know I am named after my great grandmother Diane, but I am not sure where my parents came up with the name Delaney. I’ve heard many stories, Delaney was someone my parents once knew or the actress Dana Delaney. Anyway I’m not sure, but there is a Jimmy Buffet song called, “Delaney talks to Statues” and it pretty accurately describes me as a child. The funny thing is he wrote that song about his daughter, who’s full name is Sarah Delaney Buffet, but she also goes by Delaney. I don’t understand all these people using their middle name as their main name which happens to be my first name. It’s ironic because I am a middle child. So I guess it all makes sense. I also like football and singing. I also like ben & jerry’s cookie dough ice cream, but I’m lactose intolerant so it’s a dilemma. That has nothing to do with my name.
When I introduce myself as Linda, people often respond with something along the lines of, “my grandma’s name is also Linda!” The exchange is a common occurrence. After all, Linda is a grandma name. In fact, it’s my grandma’s name.
I was named after my mom’s mom, Linda Rose Schwartz, who passed away when my mom was only 14 years old. My whole life, I’ve been told about the incredible woman with whom I share a name. Even so, I didn’t always appreciate the name Linda. In fact, for a while, I hated it. I mean, it was hard being an 8-year-old named Linda. It was as if I belonged in a nursing home rather than an elementary school classroom. Even to this day, I have yet to meet a Linda under the age of 50. I longed to be like my friends who had names like Jessica and Rachel. I simply did not belong. I cried to my parents; I pleaded with them to change my name.
Upon entering college, I befriended a girl named Diana, and immediately bonded with her over our old-lady names. We decided that it was time to change the way people viewed our names. It was time to own our names; to wear them with pride. For this, we created a Facebook page titled, “Young People with Old Lady Names.” The description of the page is as follows:
(Just as a brief side note, I actually experienced all of the things in the description.)
Today, I love the name Linda. It’s more than just five letters strung together. I am named in the memory of Linda Rose Schwartz. Like me, she was a writer. In third grade, I shared with my class a small book consisting of beautiful poems written by my namesake. My bat mitzvah invitation featured one of her short free verse poems; originally written for my mom on her thirteenth birthday. Linda Rose Schwartz loved birds, art, and most importantly, her children. From what I gather, she was truly a beautiful, courageous, and inspirational woman, both inside and out.
A few weeks ago, as my mom was sifting through old artifacts from her childhood, she came across a note that her mother once wrote. The words read, “you make your own luck.” It’s funny; my mom has consoled me with those exact words more times than I can count. The idea has become our mantra; the lens through which we view life. Linda Rose is a name of which I am proud. I am honored to carry on my grandma’s memory, and I work to embody her qualities in order to uphold the dignity of the name.
I am a lot of things. I am a daughter, a sister, a student, and a friend. Most importantly, however, I am Linda Rose, and of that, I could not be prouder.
For a long time, I’ve had a fascination with names. I love reading about meanings, histories, and where a person’s name comes from. (Thanks, Matilda!) It may have started when I read about how J.K. Rowling used names in her own stories. Take Argus Filch, caretaker and patroller of the hallways of Hogwarts. Argus is a giant from Greek mythology who had a hundred eyes and was ordered to watch Io and prevent her from escaping – a fitting name for a patrolman. I’ve always liked the idea that names can have meanings far beyond what the audience may first consider.
With that in mind, it can sometimes be difficult for me to come up with names for characters. On the one hand, I’d like to have a name with an interesting history or meaning. On the other hand, I don’t want the name to be completely unbelievable or totally transparent. Let’s face it, no one is going to buy a name like “Nasty McBadguy.” (Unless it’s a parody or a comedy story, in which case it’s fine.) There’s also a third problem – the undescribable factor. A character’s name has to “fit,” and while there are no rules at all about using a particular name, you know when a name sounds right and when it doesn’t. It’s similar to how people will say things like, “Nicki? She seems more like a Jennifer to me.”
Luckily for me, the internet has come to my rescue. Baby name websites are actually great resources for picking out a name. Quite often, the site give you small blurbs on where the names come from and if any famous people have had the name. Babynames.com is exactly what it looks like, and Parents.com has a searchable database. (I’ve often used the latter.) If you really don’t know what you’re looking for in a name, or just need some inspiration, Behind the Name has a random name generator. You can even customize the randomizer to your needs. Do you need a female French name with a middle name that can go with the surname “Fontaine?” No problem! There are also options for ancient and mythological names, as well as silly categories like Hippy, Rapper, or Transformer names.
Sometimes, you’ve got a first name settled, but need help with a last name. The earlier random name generator helps, but it does give you more than you need. While certainly not exhaustive, it can be helpful to look at these lists of last names, ordered A to G, H to O, and P to Z. Behind the Names also has this page to browse through surnames, as well as assorted categories.
Even if you don’t have any characters who need naming at the moment, it’s still interesting to look through the sites and see what you find. Do you see yourselves using these sties? How do you usually come up with names for characters? Do name meanings do much for you at all? Leave a comment below!